On Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending Mindspeak hosted by Aly-Khan Satchu for the first time ever. On this day, Jeremy Awori the Barclays Bank Kenya CEO was the one who was on the podium. He talked about the life experiences that have molded him to be the person he is today and the banking industry.

Here are some interesting facts about him;

1. Swam competitively for Kenya

He started swimming competitively at the age of 9 years. He went on to represent Kenya in various tournaments across the world which gave him a chance to travel and see the world. He however missed a chance to go compete at the Olympics after having trained hard for four years due to lack of funds by the swimming federation at that time.

2. Was a pharmacist

When he was denied a chance to go to the Olympics, he decided to seek opportunities elsewhere. He took up a scholarship in the United Kingdom which eventually saw him pursue his university education there. To keep up to the expectations of his father who was an engineer by profession he decided to pursue a career in medicine and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Pharmacy from University of Manchester (1989-1991). He thereafter practiced pharmacy for a few years till he decided to expand his career options by pursuing an MBA.

3. Became a banker by chance

Jeremy moved to Canada 1994 and pursued his MBA at the the Mcgill University. He graduated in 1996 with an MBA in Finance. He travelled back to Kenya for a brief holiday before going back to the United Kingdom and by chance he met the Standard Chartered CEO back then who offered him a job despite his lack of experience in banking. His hard work and diligence saw him promoted to become the Executive Director Consumer Banking in 1999.

4. Ambitious

During a visit by a senior manager from the Stanchart Head Office in the UK, he challenged the manager to give him a chance to serve the bank outside Africa. At the time there were no Africans working in senior positions in the bank outside Africa. The manager promised to look into it and true to his word when the position of Head of Consumer Banking arose in the United Arab Emirates he encouraged him to pursue it. Even though Jeremy thought that the position was too big for him, he decided to give it a chance and flew out did the interview and to his surprise he got the job. He served in this position from 2003 – 2006. He was later promoted to become the Regional Sales Director Middle East, South Asia & Africa. This covered 23 countries and he had over 10,000 sales people under his management.

5. CEO StanChart Tanzania

In 2008 most probably feeling a need to come closer home, he applied for and got the job to become the CEO Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania. During his tenure he got various accolades among them The Banker Magazine – Bank of the Year in Tanzania 2010, Euromoney – Best Bank in Tanzania 2011, The Banker magazine – Bank of the year in Tanzania 2011,EMEA Finance – Best foreign bank in Tanzania 2012. He stayed in this position till January 2013 when feeling a need to come back home to develop his home country, he accepted his current assignment as the Barclays Bank’s CEO.